Severe Weather Policy

Policy for Severe Weather Conditions/Power Outages

Given the range of institutional programs, the number of essential services provided and the continuing needs of resident students, the College will remain open in all but the most extreme circumstances. The decision to excuse or dismiss employees from work due to severe weather conditions will be made by the Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability, Director of Campus Safety and the Director of Human Resources, in consultation with the President, Provost and VP for Student Affairs. Supervisors are not authorized to make such decisions individually, except as noted below and with the consent of their division head(s). College employees are urged to use their own discretion in deciding whether they can safely commute to work. If personal health or safety is at issue in that decision, responsible judgment should be used.

1. Procedure for Postponing or Canceling College Activities

When weather conditions are so extreme that it becomes necessary to postpone or cancel any College activity, including but not limited to, canceling classes and/or sending home non-essential personnel, employees will be notified at the earliest possible time as follows:

  • An employee-info email
  • On the emergency alert text and phone message service
  • By calling 740-427-7007. Employees should call this number during extreme weather or other emergencies to hear a recorded message regarding the status of work schedules.

Members of the campus community are asked to NOT call Campus Safety so that telephone lines there can remain open for emergency calls.

2. Employee Personal Safety Precautions

A. The College does not expect employees to take unnecessary risks to report to or remain at work. In cases where an employee decides, due to personal circumstances, that it is best not to report to work or to leave early because of adverse weather conditions and where the College has not issued a closing, late opening or early dismissal, the employee is expected to take annual leave or leave without pay, whichever is appropriate.

  • Staff may, with the explicit approval of their supervisor, elect to work from home. A department head may similarly elect to close an office only with the explicit permission of the division head. (Employees who, due to the nature of their job, are not able to work from home will either remain at work or use paid leave if the individual department/office is closed but a College-wide closing has not been issued.) In such cases, only the division head (or their designated representative) is authorized to send a message via employee-info informing the community of that closure.
  • Individual faculty may choose to cancel class at their discretion understanding that it is easier for some to reach campus than others. Faculty must inform the students and the department chair if severe weather makes it impossible to meet a class.

B. Power outages: If employees deem their work environment to be unsafe during a power outage, they may leave after consulting with their supervisor regarding the duration of the outage. All other provisions of section 2-A are applicable.

3. Designated Essential Personnel

Support operations directly involved with maintaining the health, safety and needs of our resident students are considered essential. These support operations include Dining Services, Maintenance, Student Affairs staff who are designated as “on-call,” and Campus Safety. The Bookstore and Library and Information Services, because of the high demand for services and the need to operate continually during severe weather, are also considered essential operations. Members of the Kenyon Emergency Preparedness Team (KEPT) may also be required to report to campus, depending on the nature of the event and the discretion of the KEPT co-chairs.

When Classes are Not In Session

Certain student support operations are not as vital when classes are not in session. If the College declares a severe weather day when classes are not in session, division heads of the respective essential operations have the discretion to determine which employees remain designated as essential personnel.

4. Compensation Policy

When a decision is made to declare a severe weather day, closing administrative offices, the following will apply:

A. Except for essential personnel, benefit-eligible employees will be granted an excused absence with pay only when one of the following situations occurs: 

  • A Level 2 Snow Emergency is declared by the Knox County Sheriff’s department
  • A Level 2 Snow Emergency is declared by the Sheriff’s department in the county in which you live
  • A determination is made by College officials to send non-essential employees home and/or cancel classes 

B. Any Level 2 Snow Emergency that is in effect at the start of a shift (for most persons that would be 8:30 a.m.) shall be considered to be in effect for the entire shift regardless of when the snow emergency is lifted.

C. Employees who have committed to annual leave, (sick, personal or vacation) prior to any College announcement of closure or delayed opening, will be charged for annual-leave time accordingly.

D. If time is missed due to any other weather conditions OR the local school district in which the employee resides is closed, in order to be paid, the time must be made up or a personal or vacation day must be used. If the time will be made up it must be done within the same pay period.

E. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement should refer to their bargaining agreement for any additional terms or conditions provided therein.

Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of Human Resources to ensure the policy is applied consistently and fairly for all.

                                                                                                                                Revised April, 2018